Sunday, January 13, 2008

Retro Redux Shrug

Mmmmmmmalabrigo. Not much needs to be said. If you haven't treated yourself to a skein or two or ten of this stuff, you really should. This shrug is supersoft and perfect over a tank top for a San Francisco summer.
Retro Redux Shrug5

Redux Shrug2

Retro Redux Shrug1
Pattern: Retro Redux Shrug from Lace Style, Interweave Press
Size: Second (42")
Yarn: Two skeins of Malabrigo worsted in Polar Morn
Needles: US 8, 9, 10, 10.5
Mods: I lengthened the shrug so the ribbing of the sleeves would start/end below my elbow.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Herringbone Handwarmers

The little garageside office I'm currently blogging from is freezing most of the time. I needed something to keep my hands toasty, but not obstruct finger movement, so I converted Elliphantom's cute herringbone mitts pattern into simple handwarmers.
Herringbone Handwarmers3

Herringbone Handwarmers2
Pattern: Herringbone mitts by elliphantom, available free on her blog
Yarn: 2 skeins of Koigu, in lilac and brown (lost the tags). I used a bit more than half a skein of the brown, and a third of a skein lilac.
Needles: US 1 dpn's
Mods: I converted the pattern from mittens to fingerless gloves, and cast on 66 sts to make up for the smaller gauge (I added 16 sts to the pattern, which is two of the herringbone repeats).

My crafty goals for the new year are to get better at sewing. I'm pretty happy with the accessories I've made this year, but garments still make me freeze up with fear. The problem is that I have high expectations of craftsmanship, and my enthusiasm starts to crumble as soon as the pieces don't quite match up. So, first, I'm gonna lighten up, because I'm not planning to become a dressmaker at the house of Chanel, and second, I'm gonna learn as much as I can and start off with a (hopefully) easy project. Also, I'd like to use up all the odd balls of yarn I have. Some are leftovers from projects, others just single skeins to 'try out' the yarn, so there will be more hoppelpoppel projects. Once I've got 50% used up, I'll get to reward myself with yarn for a planned project. That should be motivation enough ;-)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

High Street Messenger Bag (the craftoholic edition)

What happened?? Wasn't it just the middle of December a few days ago? Well, happy New Year then, I hope you all survived the holidays as well as I did. There was lots of crafting, albeit little blogging, but I'll make it up to you. I've got quite a few fo's to show you, but it's gonna be bit by bit.
On my last trip to Europe I realized that I needed a new purse/bag, one that could hold my camera, maybe a laptop, and all the other stuff I like to drag around, and still have enough room for me to squish in an extra jacket or sweater. Regular purse and tote doesn't work when you're transiting Heathrow, trying to shove the former into the latter because you're allowed only one thing to take onto the plane. Which I'm not really complaining about, it's much easier now getting on and off the plane without everyone wrestling loads of plastic and shopping bags.
I didn't feel up to creating my own pattern, so I used this one by Amy Butler, adding lots of mods to turn it into the bag I need and actually use.
Here's the action shot, taken on a hike around Bodega Bay:
here you can sort of see the inside:
the back:
and one more, just so:

Pattern: parts of High Street Messenger Bag by Amy Butler, plus my own
Fabric: Denim for the exterior, heavy cotton twill for the lining
I made the bag twice as wide, it now measures 6" instead of 3".
I eliminated the pocket on the inside flap (I didn't think I'd really use it, besides, it seemed awkward to access), instead, I put a pocket on the outside flap.
Instead of making an exposed the zipper on the outside back of the bag, I opted for a lapped one.
I changed the tool pocket in the inside to my specs (special compartments for lipbalm, phone and iPod) and attached it to the body side (not the opposite side as the pattern states). I also added an adjustable water bottle holder.
Didn't use canvas as an interlining, as my fabric for the bag and lining is already heavy enough. I just ironed medium interfacing onto some parts I wanted to have a little more structure (front and back main panel, outside pockets).
It made no sense to me to have a messenger bag with a strap you can't adjust (if I do ride a bike with this bag, I want it snug against my back!), so I used the hardware from an old bag to make an adjustable strap.
I'm really happy with how this bag turned out, I'm using it all the time.

My Jana tunic (from Rowan Studio 3), hasn't been going quite as well. I've reknit it now for the second time, and I'm still not happy. It just seems so....big. It'll hibernate for a little until I can look at it with semi fresh eyes.